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What's New on the Secular Web?

See also: Events & The News Wire

August 28, 2003

Added the Texas Secular Society to the list of Local Organizations Around the World.

August 27, 2003

Added a link to "The Fundamentals of Freethought" (1922) (Off Site) on the author index page of Marshall Gauvin in the Historical Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

Is there a real God? Did Jesus Christ really live? Did he rise from the dead? Is there life after death? Is the Bible the word of God? Is the Bible a trustworthy moral guide? According to Gauvin, man invented gods in an effort to account for the phenomena of nature, Christ is a personified idea for which a life story was afterwards invented, the contradictory narratives in the Gospels prove the alleged Resurrection a fable, the Bible upholds all the major forms of immorality, immortal life is impossible, and the contradictions in the Bible certify that book is not the word of God.

August 22, 2003

Added a link on the author index page of Richard Carrier to his article "Some Godless Comments on McFall's Review of On Jesus" (Off Site).

Carrier remarks on five conceptual and historical issues raised by Mark McFall in his review of On Jesus by Douglas Groothuis. Claims discussed are: that Jesus should be reckoned a philosopher; that "Socrates and Jesus are on equal ground" in regards source reliability; that Jesus had "a strong concern for logic and argument"; that "at that time, only a handful of philosophers...stood on the threshold of reforming patriarchal society" in respect to women; and that "ultimately skeptical rejection of Jesus' resurrection hinges more on one's personal philosophical outlook than it does on evidential arguments of historical significance."

Richard Carrier added a link in his article "Kersey Graves and The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors" to Methodology in the Study of the Mystery Religions and Early Christianity" (Off Site) by Bruce M. Metzger.

Metzger is a well-known and well-respected Greek scholar who has published more than two dozen books on the Bible and related subjects. He studied Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac at Princeton. Some weeks prior to his graduation in 1938, he was invited by the president of the seminary to serve as teaching fellow in Greek for the following year. Thus began a 46-year teaching career at Princeton Theological Seminary. In this article, Metzger--an important voice in this matter--addresses the subject of the relationship between Christianity and the Mystery Religions.

August 20, 2003

Added "The Christians and the French" by Stephen Cheng to the Agora.

"The relatively recent anti-French sentiment in the United States far outweighs the anti-Christian prejudice that the Religious Right complains about."

August 17, 2003

Added "The Kalam Cosmological Argument: The Question of the Metaphysical Possibility of an Infinite Set of Real Entities" by Arnold T. Guminski to the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

According to one form of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, as expounded by William Lane Craig, there cannot be a beginningless temporal world because the application of Cantorian set theory of transfinite arithmetic to the real world generates counterintuitive absurdities, thereby disclosing that an infinite set of real entities is metaphysically impossible. This Article shows how this is not the case by pursuing a novel approach wherein it is understood that an infinite set of real entities is not a set, considered as a technical term of art, within the meaning of Cantorian theory. This article will appeal to those readers (especially those who accept the principle that there must be a cause for whatever begins to exist) who think that there is something to the Kalam Cosmological Argument that has not as yet been satisfactorily answered by its critics.

August 13, 2003

Added "Bruce's Dream--Badgering the Almighty" by Keith Gilmour to the Agora.

Fanciful repartee involving "Bruce" and "God" himself.

August 11, 2003

Added "Morality: What Part Do Gods Play?" by Grant Petersen to the Agora.

Can objective morality exist without a god? Would the existence of "God" necessarily lead to the existence of objective morality? Petersen contends that the connection between objective morality and a deity is based solely on a theistic paradigm which is fraught with problems.

August 9, 2003

Added a link to "Essays of an Atheist" (Off Site) on the author index page of Woolsey Teller in the Historical Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

"These essays, originally published in The Truth Seeker, have been saved from a journalistic existence (as nearly as anything written for a monthly publication can be saved from oblivion in a world of ruthless extinctions) by its editor, Charles Smith, my publisher and companion in arms for many years, who, being a born crusader, has decided to give them an extended lease of life between covers. ... Whether one agrees or disagrees with the opinions expressed in this volume is of small moment; what really matters is the degree to which a writer stimulates others to independent research and a reappraisal of conventional doctrines. After all, one must be judged, not by his errors, but by his batting average. If he can keep the mistakes down to a minimum and the score high, he will be contributing in some small way to a better understanding of life and its problems." -Woolsey Teller

August 3, 2003

Added "Competing Theories in the Classroom" by Nick Strommen to the Agora.

The evolution vs. creationism debate has been one of the hot-button issues between liberals and conservatives for the last 150 years. Both sides want their viewpoint taught in the science classroom. Although he is an atheist, Strommen wants equal time for both--and more.

August 1, 2003

Feature article: "Thought for the Night: Crop Circles as an Illustration of Memetic Selection and the Spread of Religion" by AJ Milne.

Does memetic selection favor fantastical explanations? Is there a connection between the acceptance of fantastical explanations for such phenomena as crop circles and the spread of religions such as Christianity? Milne conjectures that such might be the case, and tells us why.

Book-of-the-Month: The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore; (foreword by Richard Dawkins).

With controversial implications for our religious beliefs, our free will, and our very sense of "self," this provocative book will be must reading for any general reader or student interested in psychology, biology, or anthropology. Blackmore boldly asserts: "Just as the design of our bodies can be understood only in terms of natural selection, so the design of our minds can be understood only in terms of memetic selection." The Meme Machine shows that once our distant ancestors acquired the crucial ability to imitate, a second kind of natural selection began: a survival of the fittest among competing ideas and behaviors.

Video-of-the-Month: Blast from the Past.

Why good manners kick butt! "Coasting on the successes of Gods and Monsters and George of the Jungle, Brendan Fraser turns in yet another winning performance in this fish-out-of-water comedy in which Pleasantville meets modern-day Los Angeles, with predictably funny results."

See "What's New? " for past months and years.